Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Creation of Huntards

Yesterday, I pointed out the most recent Huntard I came across. While it's fun blasting these guys, it's also a little sad. Personally, I don't judge anybody too harshly until they reach level 40 or 50. By then, I feel they should have a fairly good grasp of their class and the game mechanics.

However, instead of blindly making fun of them, let's examine the reasons why they exist.

1: Player Base

It's no secret that the most-played class in the game, historically, has been Hunters. It's also common knowledge that Night Elves have been the most popular race in the game. In recent years, Blood Elves have been making a strong push, and more recently, Death Knights, particularly Human, have been dominating the servers. However, let's look at this long-term, and assume the position that Night Elf Hunters are the most popular race/class combination, HISTORICALLY. Human Death Knoobs and Blood Elf Retardins may be more popular now, but Huntardism has been a disease for many years. Also, I can guarantee, from personal experience, that the vast majority of Huntards are Night Elves.

Now, let's get into the mind of the average noob. Please note, that I DO make the distinction between a noob and a newbie. Newbies will learn. "Stupid is forever." Let's create our first noob character. We want to be the good guys, so Alliance is the obvious choice. Horde is just too ugly. (Of course, this train of thought can lead to Blood Elf Huntards, which are a growing population.) From the Alliance choices: Why play a fantasy game as a Human? Dwarves are stupid. Gnomes are for kids. Draenei is too hard to pronounce. Night Elves look AWESOME and the chicks are hawt. From there, it's an obvious choice. Hunters can dual-wield and have PETS! How awesome is that?

See what the mind of a noob looks like? I'll pause while you shower.


It breaks down to one thing, simply. WoW is the most popular game in the history of ever. It will attract a large number of "common" folk who have never played a game like this before. Many of them have never played anything more complicated than Halo. To these players, Hunter is a very attractive option, regardless of which flavor.

2: Class Mechanics

I'll admit it. Hunters are easymode.

Hunter is THE easiest class to level in the game. They are soloing machines. It's a very simple mechanic: Send pet, shoot, move on. No complex rotations, no buffs, no special considerations for what you're fighting. Mana efficiency isn't even really an issue. The pet can even do the bulk of the work and achieve the desired result. The only requirement for leveling a Hunter is a pulse.

This leads to Hunters spending the majority, if not the entirety of their careers alone. They never have to learn group mechanics. They never even really need to learn their class. As long as they continue to succeed, and they will in almost any situation, they will continue to play and grow in level.

If you never NEED to learn, it's very easy to just... not.

I have seen very few GREAT Hunters in my 4 years. At least half of those were Hunters that I mentored myself. I taught them the value of various stats. I taught them how to raise a pet properly. I taught them talent builds. I even taught them complex mechanics like chain trapping. Any old-school Hunters out there know how difficult THAT was in Vanilla WoW.

I, myself, learned my craft from my guildmates. I had the fortune to be part of a very helpful guild for the better part of 3 years. They suggested gear upgrades and sometimes even crafted them for me. Back in the days of 10-man Scholomance, it was almost unheard of to NOT have more than one Hunter along. I watched, I listened and I learned. Many players do not have these benefits, so they go through life ignorant.

Example: A guildmate of my girlfriend was boasting about his awesome +400 Attack Power Staff. Before she got too jealous, I asked her to have him link the item. Sure enough, it was a Druid Staff with FERAL Attack Power. He didn't know any better. He'd been using Feral Staves for a while with no negative effect.

3: Mail

This is an easy one. Hunters learn to wear Mail at level 40. Almost any low-level Leather you come across is decent for Hunter. However, most level 40-ish Mail is Warrior and Paladin-flavored, with lots of Strength. If those are the stats that come on Mail, those must be the stats you want, right?

Example: Once again, a guildmate of my girlfriend was bragging about her awesome Mail armor. She ran Scarlet Monastery dozens of time to collect the whole set. My girlfriend decided to do the same, and was perplexed when she couldn't find anything better than her Tough Scorpid gear. Upon further review, her friend was wearing the Scarlet set.

4: Game Design

Despite what you may think, Blizzard is not perfect. They need to realize that people these days do not like to read. Putting statistical information in a 50-plus page instruction manual guarantees that it will be ignored by many players. Hiding the effect of various stats in mouseovers is cryptic.

To put it quite simply: Blizzard assumes their players are intelligent, curious human beings. Sadly, this is not true for a majority of players.

Additionally, the choice to give Hunters a pet at level 10 instead of 1 fosters poor play. If you learn the game with melee attacks as a primary option, odds are you'll continue that playstyle when you get your pet. While there's a quest to teach you how to tame your pet, where's the one that teaches you how to USE it?

I suggest Blizzard overhauls their starting design to make it more enjoyable for new player. Yes, we still get those. Add class quests that show the benefit of various stats. Put in a quest that requires a Hunter to trap an enemy in a Freezing Trap. Put one in that is failed if the Hunter gets hit and not the pet. This will help players learn not just how to play the game, but how to play their class and excell at it. I recommend this for all classes.

Now, if somebody wants to play their class differently, I'm all for that. Take a Survival-heavy build, stack Strength and use Aspect of the Beast. Play your Death Knight like a ranged caster. Level a melee Mage. Do whatever works for you, so as long as you understand WHAT you're doing and what others will expect of you in a group situation.

Don't get me wrong, there are PLENTY of non-Hunter uninformed players out there.

I see Affliction-heavy Warlocks out there with Voidwalkers all the time. Odds are they don't know that other pets are better options. Voidwalker was necessary in the early levels, so that's what they feel they should use.

Look around and see how many Death Knights are wearing Spellpower Plate. Where was it ever explained in the game that Death Knight SPELLS scale off Attack Power?

Wheel of Morality,
Turn, turn, turn.
Show us the lesson
We must learn.

The only way we as a community can overcome this problem is to do something about it. Instead of ridiculing these players, we should try to coach them. So, this is my New Year's Resolution: Whenever I see someone doing or wearing something OBVIOUSLY completely wrong, I will try to help them. Sure, there will be plenty of people who just don't want to learn, but if each of us can help just ONE person, then that's a huge impact.


KT said...

The whole section about being able to play on autopilot as a hunter rings very true for me. There are times when I've worked out strategies for certain fights, but even then I've known I could just wait one level and not have to think about it.

My first alt I created was a rogue, and at level 20, I feel like I know so much more about the rogue class then I still do about hunters, although I know I have a lot to learn about rogues still as well. It's because almost every tough fight involves me having to think through how to pull, how to use stealth, how to accomplish the quest as efficiently as possible given the particular set of circumstances. It was really frustrating at first, but now it has become really fun.


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A part-time player trying to exist in a full-time world. Guild Master of Denarian on the Azjol-Nerub server.


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Current Goals

  • Haddar - Level 80
  • Tarmr - HERBS!
  • Samodean - Wyrmrest Accord Exalted
  • Samodean - Finish Northrend Quests


  • Watching - Primeval
  • Playing - Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood (DS)
  • Watching - Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
  • Playing - The Last Remnant (360)
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